It doesn't take any time at all on my blog to know that I love Africa. There is something incredibly special about that continent that is often hard to adequately describe. It is a land of sharp contrasts and intensities. One of my daughter Anna's fellow Expedition missionaries, Rebecca Gonzalez, wrote about just this suject on the team blog this week:
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust.
You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us...
"My team and I have been in Africa a little less than a week. We've been in a city called Mbarara in Uganda for only close to 5 days. But in this short time there is so much God is impressing on my heart. But perhaps what has astounded me most is the juxtaposition of all of the beauty here with all of the brokenness. This literally is the most beautiful place I've ever been in my life. There is something about the bright green of the plants against the red dirt of Uganda against the smiling beautiful faces here...something that makes you understand what is meant by the word beauty. The children that come to be with us every day are all so joyful and friendly, everyone seems to have the heart of a servant and every once in a while we hear a chorus of neighbors outside of the house we are staying (an incredible blessing by the way -- a house given to us by Pastor Solomon, his wife Lillian and their baby Sufficient Grace, with beds and an abundance of delicious Ugandan food). I'm so grateful to be in this place. And beauty is the only way I can describe the reason.
Still, it is clear that the people we encounter, though joyful in a way I've never seen before, need so much. And there is darkness fighting the beauty. We have had the honor to help teach in the village schools and while the children are happy and obedient, you know that some are very sick or missing something (like food) or someone at home (some orphaned). Likewise some of the adults I have encountered have a hunger for love in their eyes. The brokenness of it all as heavy on my team yesterday as some went to the hospitals (where they encountered hard conditions for people both dying of AIDS and suffering from malaria) and others spent time getting to know that stories of the people in the village. I can see more clearly here than ever how God brings beauty out of ashes, that He is already working in this place and He simply wants to use us in the process. But I do desire desperately that He would use us to heal some of this brokenness, to help somehow in this place that He loved enough to give them the Nile and their joy. I pray that we could be part of bringing the message that this isn't all He gave them, but He also offers provision, healing and Himself. And I pray that we would not leave here unchanged by beauty and brokenness.
Please pray for our team, that we would have strength to stand up against attacks, energy to do all we can here and open hearts that God may touch us. Thank you to everyone supporting us in any way. Be blessed by beauty."
To read more about the Expedition missionary adventures, visit their blog: http://expedition.adventures.org/